People who tend to spend more time on social media, especially WhatsApp, feel less lonely and have higher self-esteem, a study claims.
Researchers at Edge Hill University in the UK have found that the text-based messaging app has a positive impact on psychological well-being.
"The more time people spent on WhatsApp, the more this related to them feeling close to their friends and family and they perceived these relationships to be good quality," said Dr Linda Kaye of Edge Hill University.
"As well as this, the more closely bonded these friendships were and the more people felt affiliated with their WhatsApp groups, the more this was related positively to their self-esteem and social competence," she said.
Two hundred users, 158 women and 41 men with an average age of 24, participated in the study. It was published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.
The researchers found that the average reported daily use of WhatsApp was around 55 minutes, with people using it because of its popularity and group chat function.
"Group affiliation also meant that WhatsApp users were less lonely. It seems that using WhatsApp to connect with our close friends is favourable for aspects of our well-being," Kaye said.
"This research contributes to the ongoing debates in this area and provides specific evidence of the role of social factors, along with social support motivations for using communication technology," she added.